Flac05 vol16no

I S S N 0 7 9 1 4 1 4 8 l V O L U M E 1 6 l N U M B E R S 1 - 2 l D O U B L E I S S U E J A N U A R Y F R E E L E G A L A D V I C E C E N T R E S President of the Irish Human
Maurice Manning, launched
the proceedings from FLAC’s
recent conference on ‘Public
Interest Law in Ireland – the
Reality and the Potential’ on 24
February in Chief O’Neill’s Hotel,
Dublin. The conference, held in
October 2005, brought together
lawyers and activists in public
interest law from Ireland and
abroad to hear an array of speak-
ers, whose contributions are now

collated in the publication.
Included in the proceedings is Public Interest Law and Litigation in Ireland, carried out by Mel Cousins BL. Thereport examines the role Public Dr Maurice Manning President of the Irish Human Rights Commission who launched the Proceedings with Philip Joyce Vice President of the Law Society (left) and Mel plays or might play in advancing theposition of disadvantaged and vul- FLAC Public Interest Law
Seminar Series
Ireland. It follows FLAC’s major confer- 3. Structures for public interest law
and litigation
Hogan Mezzanine SuiteCroke Park Conference 1. Procedural Obstacles to PILL
This seminar will focus how public inter- est law and litigation might be best deliv- ered in Ireland. It will examine structures cuss their suitability in the Irish context. be overcome. It will cover issues suchas amicus curiae briefs, class actions, 4. Roundtable Discussion
locus standi, dealing with costs and pro- tective costs orders. It is aimed largely NGO sector. Its primary goal is to identi- in this jurisdiction and formulate strate- law practitioners from other jurisdictions, 2. How PILL can address the needs
law and litigation strategy in Ireland. The results of the workshops will form part of the consultants’ further deliberations.
quarterly by the Free LegalAdvice Centres (FLAC) Advertising LAB services:
What do you think?
One of FLAC’s many concerns
sees such breadth in the legislation.
are aware of its existence believe that it Dail that ‘ambit of the (Civil Legal Aid) If you have any suggestions, please
contact Paul Joyce at FLAC.
Civil legal aid now available for
Coroner’s Court
In a judgment delivered in October evident that the next of kin needs In the meantime, presumably pending
Mrs Magee’s son Paul had died on St.
applying the rationale of Kelly J. inO’Donoghue v. The Legal Aid Board and Lardner J. in Stevenson v. Landy and Others and Kirwan v. Minister for Justice, that, due to the private solicitors, she applied for legal tional right to civil legal aid. This right the case of O’Donoghue v Legal Aid of a loved one’s death. This could lead aid, including the O’Donoghue case.
legal aid. He stated that he “may, with effective remedy are not vindicated.
legal aid in proceedings before a coro-ner where a person has died in, or “… I take the view that as a result of Research project to expose rough
justice of Irish debt law
Anew study to be conducted enforcement process is minimal, ular to deal with recalcitrant
debtors, the so-called ‘won’t pays’.
more enlightened and user-friendlyapproach needed to be taken to undertake a review. It may be thatthe State wishes to maintain the Increase in calls to FLAC on
solicitors costs
FLAC has recorded an increase in and determining fees and costs in be based on an assessment of the
their client fees in addition to the fees ters. In addition no solicitor in private fullest disclosure possible of the capital to require the other party to make a full assets and liabilities. There will have to Increase in calls to FLAC on
solicitors costs (cont’d)
onial Litigation – A Dysfunctional Legal essary delay and so cut down on costs.
paid. In the case of A&L Goodbody v Colthurst and Anor, Judge Peart stated “….I do not believe that Section 68 was solicitors who fail to issue a S. 68 letter Focus on FLAC staff: Jackie Heffernan,
Information & Referral Line
Jacqueline Heffernan qualified as For me, it is equally important to be
when they seek help,” she explains.
Solicitors before taking a career breakin the 1990s. Jackie joined FLAC in This increased its jurisdiction inFebruary 2006 from €1269.74 to be increased still further to €10,000.
tion, Jackie says “it’s the first point of in respect of the private rented sector.) contact with FLAC for a lot of people – “It is important for people to be aware of where to get help when they need it.
Capital Assessment for Legal Aid
Applicants for civil legal aid are them and if both parties have lived there, unencumbered value exceeds the
threshold of €190,500, the capital con- the value of the applicant’s principal pri- often surprised to learn that it is not free and that a contribution is required in all the extent that its ‘unencumbered value’ value is less than €250,000, the capital cant’s income contribution. In relation to according to the applicant’s disposable other capital resources, there is no con- €320,000 disposable capital is not enti- tribution payable in respect of the first €3200 of disposable capital. Thereafter, capital assets exceed €510,500 will not but a person who has paid off their mort- able contribution for legal representation ed person’s contribution for the service. gage may find themselves in this position ‘capital’ is defined as the value of every tions can run to the full commercial rate qualify for legal aid in relation to dispos- house property, life insurance, valuables, FLAC’s report on the civil legal aid system debts owed to the applicant and the value in Ireland, Access to Justice: A Right or a of equipment including a car. If the appli- Privilege?, published in July 2005, called for the assessments in relation to capital €3200, s/he must fill out a statement of home is part of the calculation at all.
means (capital) form. This can be quite a lation. There are positive indications that they will qualify for civil legal aid.
In relation to the specific issue of house However, the extent of a person’s capital property, the value of the family home of spouses is not assessed if it is part of the required to pay for legal representation.
In relation to the family home, where its ried in future editions of FLAC news.
National Women’s Council of Ireland encourages public
to sign anti-trafficking petition
Back in March of this year, the on-line petition which can be found at services to women who have been
www.nwci.ie and asks people to join
At present Ireland remains the only EU
member state that has yet to crimi-
nalise the trafficking of human beings.
will be trafficked into Germany this June for All signatures collected before the start of of sexual exploitation and prostitution.
the FIFA World Cup in June will be collat- Blatter and Football Association of Ireland Chief Executive Officer John Delaney.
Sign the petition and say no to the
exploitation of women and young girls
A major part of the ‘Buying Sex is not a TODAY! Contact: [email protected] for
more information or call (01) 87 87 248.
LEAPing forward in
The Legal Education for All alternative access routes to legal ect and providing the promise of cre-
such as interactions with criminal law.
the aim is to get participants to certifi- munity-based courses are alsooffered, as is support for extantcourses, like the FAS legal secretarytraineeship. As part of the EQUAL programme,LEAP has been partnered with theSlovak branch of the KolpingFoundation, which promotes therights of the local minority Roma pop-ulation from its base in SpisskéPodhradie, Eastern Slovakia. TheEQUAL programme seeks to facili-tate an exchange of practicesaddressing socio-economically dis-advantaged communities across theEU and to provide a transnationaldimension Participants from each country makestudy visits and the programme pro-vides for five meetings to exchange Pictured are LEAP’s Transnational Partners who attended the launch with Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Bronwen Maher (centre) David Joyce ITM (second from right at front) and Elizabeth Davidson LEAP Co ordinator (front far right) legal education
learning, to be jointly delivered toproject participants.
A seminar chronicling the experiencewith LEAP to date took place inDublin at the Mansion House on 23March 2006 that detailed the project’sgenesis and progress and introducedthe content of the research project.
Currently, there are two modules run-ning, one in Dublin at the CarmeliteCentre, and one in Limerick at St.
Michael’s Parish. This group is com-prised of people from both the Traveller and settled communities,both Irish and foreign nationals, andwomen make up a 3:1 ratio of theparticipants. The participants rangein age from mid-20s to mid-40s. Pictured are Prof Gerry Whyte Trinity College Law School Ken Murphy Director General Law Society of Ireland and Marcella Higgins Director of the Dublin group, and from Ennis,Killarney, Tipperary and Clonmel for have input in choosing optional sub-jects. The system of tutors and men- Copies of Proceedings and/or
the DVD from FLAC’s Public
Interest Law Conference are now
available from the FLAC office.
You can also sign up to the PILL
Ireland Network (PILN) to receive
updates on PILL issues and
share opinions and information

For more information on LEAP,
with other Network members.
see the project website at
Mail us at [email protected] or call us
at 01-874 5690
Taking women’s rights seriously
As the conference programme
put it: “[d]espite the fact that it isover 20 years since CEDAW was ratified by the Irish Government,there is still little awareness of theConvention among the general public,politicians, civil servants and policymakers. Few NGOs use CEDAW as atool in their campaigning work, nor is itused as a strategy by legal practition-ers to take cases.” The conference “Taking CEDAWSeriously” held in March 2006 wasorganised by the Women’s HumanRights Alliance and was partially fund-ed by the Irish Centre for Human L R: Noirin Clancy Co ordinator Women’s Human Rights Alliance; Noeline Blackwell FLAC Director General; Shanti Dariam CEDAW Committee member and Director of IWRWA; Faustina Pereira Advocate of Supreme Court Bangladesh; and Joshua Castellino Acting Director of the LLM in International Peace Support Operations at the Irish Centre for Human Rights Galway Discrimination against Women, is oneof the world’s main human rights universal and international law standards. Irish law, it is up to the government and Individuals are not entitled to insist on substantive equality rights. To decide if For further information on
CEDAW, contact the
for a State of ratifying an international Women's Human Rights
Alliance, 3 The Plaza,
Headford Road, Galway,
tel.: 091-764372 or see their
website: www.whra-ireland.org/
Beyond the figures:
Persons on insufficient
The state civil legal aid scheme does not means cannot always
address unmet legal need Instead thepresent ssystem p avail of state civil
focused almost exclusively on family lawand is one where delay and lack ofresources iintroduce ssignificant b legal aid
After 25 years of state civil legal property, car, cash in hand, tistical information collected from FLAC
€3200, s/he must pass a ers In this article we will examine how €320,000 will not be enti- need oof aassistance aare eexcluded “capital” will include a person’s house gages, but have very limited income.
a periodic review of the financial limits restrictive financial criteria mayexclude many potential needy liti- If the scheme of civil legal aid is to be must not exceed €13,000 a year, i.e.
legal aid. To calculate this figure, cer- should be reinstated at realistic levels.
Public Interest Law: FLAC launches
conference proceedings
The following is an address present-
ed by Michael Farrell, FLAC’s Senior
Solicitor, to the proceedings launch:
believing that there is a very large areaof unmet legal need out there, and in access their rights through the law.
dancing, gaiety and excitement. ButRobert Garcia, in one of the most com- Mel Cousins’ report defines public interest law as “a way of working with the law for Interest Law and Litigation conference last taged people”. He looks, not uncritically, at Katrina had shattered that gaudy, carefree the current level of public interest law pro- Orleans, the poverty-stricken black neigh- sage, reinforced by the other speakers at tion and a coordinated strategy by all the able odds and financial constraints.
ilies could not escape when public trans- key players in the area and across the var- ious component parts of public interest law possess that quintessential symbol of the and litigation, which he describes as law education and strategic litigation, i.e. litiga- It was a bit like a metaphor for our society tion targeted to test and stretch the law in the interests of those whom it is intended the development of public interest law.
behind the affluent facade, for the old, the • For the law schools, both the colleges aspects of public interest law and how it dependent on social welfare, the physical- and exploited migrant workers, life is still an unrelenting daily struggle to survive.
holders in this area, law schools, practi- widening rather than getting narrower.
It is an irony that in this deeply unequal • For the legal professional bodies, to justice in our still unequal society.
before – at least on paper. But access- ing rights is the problem, especially for commitment to pro bono work by their people here will reflect on them and then increase the amount of pro bono work “The Reality and the Potential" of public learn from, and be a little inspired by, the people who were turning rights into real- • For NGOs working with particular dis- up to all of us now to try to channel that these proceedings will bring something of • And there is a key role for community into an instrument for realising the rights who were not able to make it on the day.
of the disadvantaged in our society.

Source: http://www.accesstojustice.eu/download/pdf/flac_news_v16no1.pdf


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